Rush of foreign travelers good news for Kansai love hotels


Over the past several years, the number of visitors to Japan, and particularly the Kansai region, from Asian countries has steadily increased. The completion of the 300-meter-high Abeno Harukas, Japan's tallest commercial building, and the opening up of a Harry Potter section at Universal Studios Japan have served as magnets to draw more foreign visitors, and this, reports Shukan Jitsuwa (Sept 11) has had the effect of raising the occupancy rate of the city's hotels. As a result, not only are city hotels, but even budget and business hotels are finding themselves unable to meet demand.

"By the weekend, we hotel operators get to talking. 'Have you got any vacant rooms?' they ask," says a member of the Osaka Prefectural Association of Hotel Operators. "If the number of flights by those LLCs (low cost carriers) into Kansai International Airport increase any further -- meaning more visitors from South Korea and China -- the situation's going to become huge mess as far as accommodations are concerned."

Not to pass up a business opportunity, the magazine reports, moves are afoot by people in the hotel industry to tap into the latent potential of the city's love hotels. One of the ways to do this is to modify their exteriors, lobbies, and so on to make them resemble more conventional business hotels in appearance.

"Recently we've been getting inquiries from individual travelers and operators of budget tours," the owner of a love hotel is quoted as saying. "In addition to just seeking accommodations, it appears that in the travelers' own countries (China and South Korea), hotels of this type are not that common, so they're curious to spend a night or two, just so they can say they experienced a different culture. The demand by couples is pretty steady, I figure."

These developments have been observed by people in the real estate industry, who have begun to see turning over love hotel properties as a growth business.

"The word is out that hotels are selling at the rate of one or so every week," a source in the realty industry tells Shukan Jitsuwa. "It's like the days of the 'bubble economy' all over again. I've even heard there are operators making big money just by specializing in turning over love hotels."

Love hotel rooms are not the only commodity in short supply; the market for rental apartments also feeling the pinch.

"Plans are in the works for renting out more units for use as guest houses for foreigners," says a writer for a real estate industry trade publication. "Because it will take a change in the law controlling operation of hotels and ryokan, we've heard that people in the trade have begun to lobby LDP Diet members. I suppose this aspect of the business will heat up between now and the Tokyo Olympics."

Well, Shukan Jitsuwa concludes, if the influx of foreign tourists stimulates the economy, that certainly can't be a bad thing. But then it plays a wild card, stating that if overbearing market forces are allowed to get their way, it may lead to a deterioration in public order -- something nobody wants. To its credit, nowhere does the magazine suggest foreigners would be to blame for any problems that ensue.

© Japan Today

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I'd want to use a black light to examine the room first.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Imagine groups of Asian tourists arriving en masse at a love hotel-it would be total confusion....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Maybe they can be featured in the olympics. Athlete's village anyone?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There was a scene in K-drama Young Miss Ae. She could not find privacy anywhere, because living with parents, so rented a room in love hotel to watch a movie. No normal channels on the telly so had to get a DVD. Then pulled a used C-O-N-D-O-M out from under the pillow! Stomped down to hotel desk with it!

Scene soon to be repeated by poor "foreign travelers" in their thousands, on holiday ...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's not the used condoms that get me. It's the fake eyelashes that give me the shakes.....

1 ( +3 / -2 )

You guys are looking at the wrong things in love hotels...

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I stayed in a former love hotel in Nara last year. Huge room, low price, next to the park. It was excellent.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When my wife and I travel around Japan in a rented car we sometimes stay at love hotels. Being on the unusual side of things, I guess, we are given first-class treatment by the love hotel staff. Perhaps it's because they rarely see married couples staying at their place. Anyway, the cost is cheap, we don't need reservations, the rooms are fantastic and the parking is free. Once in Tottori Prefecture we stayed at a love hotel in which our room overlooked the open sea. It was nice to hear the water lapping up against the waterfront just outside our window. It was much better than staying at a much more expensive hotel ... which wouldn't have put we low-paying customers right next to mother nature ... that is, the open sea.

So my advice is, when driving around Japan, or even touring by air or by train, stay at love hotels ... they are great (for the above reasons).

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"Because it will take a change in the law controlling operation of hotels and ryokan, we’ve heard that people in the trade have begun to lobby LDP Diet members"

you mean bribe LDP Diet members. Big business can do what they want in Japan anyway.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

You want to be careful of secret video cameras recording your activities in love hotels! You might find yourself and wifey/gf the stars in the AV video industry unknowingly.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

secret video cameras recording your activities in love hotels

It would be a serious crime in Japan. You go to jail, and the business goes bankrupt. I've never heard that kind of incident.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Actually the hotels do have security cameras in entranceways, corridors and parking areas, but these are erased (I've been told) after a suitable period of time, unless some crime is committed on the premises. There was a knifing in a hotel in Kabukicho some years back, when a very drunk salaryman who thought he was seducing a hostess discovered "she" was a man in drag. They fought over money and the salaryman was stabbed to death. Police were able to arrest the perp thanks to the recording. Never heard of them inside the hotel rooms, except in Taiwan and Hong Kong, where a huge scandal erupted about a decade ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only been in a couple and they were nice... not exactly subtle, but nice.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It would be a serious crime in Japan. You go to jail, and the business goes bankrupt. I've never heard that kind of incident.

Oh really? A few years ago I went into a game center to use the toilet. While I was sitting on the throne, I glanced up at the ceiling, and discovered a hidden camera trained directly on the toilet. I was so shocked that all could do was smile and wave.

I'm a movie star.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Love hotesl make an excellent and cheaper option for staying around Japan. Much cheaper and better than you average business hotel.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess good for Kansai sex workers as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Osaka needs some clean and new hostels.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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